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UPDATED: Cowichan River fire now 4.1 hectares, as wind event moves in

Still classified as out of control
The Coastal Fire Centre is reporting a wildfire that started Oct. 9 south of Sahtlam. (BC Wildfire map)

UPDATE Oct. 10:

While the wildfire south of the Cowichan River that ignited on Oct. 8 grew in size to 4.1 hectares on the afternoon of Oct. 9, the Coastal Fire Centre says firefighting efforts are going well.

“We are making excellent progress towards containment,” said fire information officer Julia Caranci on the morning of Oct. 10, though she said the fire is still classified as out of control.

There are 21 firefighters and two water tenders currently battling the blaze, which is located south of Sahtlam in a rural area.

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for much of Vancouver Island, including the Cowichan Valley, stating that strong winds could move into the area this afternoon.

RELATED: Strong winds set for B.C. as tree branches weakened by ongoing drought

Caranci said firefighters are aware of the potential wind event and have prepared as best they can to make sure fire containment lines hold.

“We’ll have to see what it brings us,” she said of the expected winds.


UPDATE: The size of the fire burning south of the Cowichan River has been adjusted to 2.5 hectares.

Fire information officer for the Coastal Fire Centre Julia Caranci said that reflects some more accurate mapping that crews have been able to do, rather than any significant growth of the blaze, which started on Saturday, Oct. 8.

Caranci said there was no significant growth of the fire overnight, and it did not challenge existing containment. Though the blaze is still classified as out of control, Caranci said crews are progressing well at building a containment line.

Currently working on the fire are 16 firefighters, a helicopter and two water tenders.

It is still not a threat to infrastructure or human life.

The fire is suspected to be human caused, Caranci said, though no definitive cause has been identified.


The B.C. Wildfire Service is reporting a new fire between Duncan and Lake Cowichan.

According to the BC Wildfire Service map, the fire is located south of the Cowichan River, Cowichan River Provincial Park and Sahtlam.

It was reported to the Coastal Fire Centre early on Saturday, Oct. 8, and is about 1.2 hectares in size.

Fire information officer Julia Caranci said it is considered a vigourous surface fire at this point, and three helicopters, two attack crews and and officer, along with volunteer firefighters from the Duncan and Sahtlam fire departments are on the scene battling the blaze.

Caranci said there was initially some difficulty getting to the fire as the location is a bit remote. This also means that no buildings, people or other infrastructure is threatened.

She also said that while conditions are very dry due to the drought the Cowichan Valley is currently experiencing, fighting fires has become easier in recent weeks.

“It’s very different fighting fires in October than it is in August,” she said, as the fire behaviour is not as aggressive due to shorter days and longer nights that create more overnight humidty and longer periods of lower temperatures.

More as it becomes available.

Andrea Rondeau

About the Author: Andrea Rondeau

I returned to B.C. and found myself at the Cowichan Valley Citizen.
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